After the fireworks went off the runners started moving towards the start line. This is actually a slower process than you might think. We were walking slowly and then faster. As I crossed the start line I clicked both my phone timer and my Galloway run/walk timer. Like I said this was set for run 1 min/walk 1 min and I knew I needed to stick to my training plan, even in the excitement of the race start. My biggest goal for these early miles was to make sure I was going slowly enough. 26.2 miles is a long distance and starting too quickly is a major disaster for the later miles. With the adrenaline rush of starting a race, it is easy to start too fast!

Maybe you can appreciate how many runners are trying to get to the start line (which is located underneath the MARATHON sign).

The start of the race is located in the parking lot of Epcot and the 1st five miles are pretty much a loop which takes you to the front of Epcot, into Future World, then to World Showcase going clockwise until Norway, into a backstage area, and back around parallel to the starting line.  A few “rules of thumb” of any Disney race.  Water stations are generally plentiful but there are no water stations in any theme park.  For the 1st half or so of the race, water stations were about every 1.5 mile.  For some reason the early mile markers seemed like they were really far apart! And it seemed like the water stations were super far apart.  I had done fine with pre-hydrating but still felt like I needed water.  This will be important later!

I took a picture of every mile marker on the course!

Entering the Main Gate of Epcot (where you would pay for parking if you drove to Epcot)

Mile 2 (the time posted is the time from when the 1st runner crossed the starting line).

A very dark picture of Spaceship Earth as we entered Epcot.

I love the landscaping, especially in the front of Epcot!

The Christmas Tree as you enter World Showcase from Future World. We turned left past the Christmas Tree and ran past Mexico before turning left at Norway.  Yes, I paid homage to Grete Waitz who has a statue in Norway (for the unenlightened, she was a famous marathoner from Norway who recently died from cancer).

Almost 5k done!!!

1st of many character meet and greet spots.  (And, no, I don’t know the runner who is posing.)

Not all of my mile marker photos are in focus….. 😉

I actually think I know the girl wearing the fluorescent green shirt (I have one also).  The back of the shirt says:  DLF>DNF>>DNS.  Dead last finish is better than did not finish which greatly trumps did not start. (That may be a paraphrase instead of an exact quote – I’m too lazy to go get my shirt!)

At mile 5 Disney sent out texts/facebook updates/twitter feeds/emails with your time.   Here’s my post:

runDisney – Disney World Full Marathon:
AMANDA NORTH at 5M in 1:04:18.
Pace: 12:52 min/Mile.
Estimated Finish Time: 5:37:20.
Estimated Time of Arrival: 11:37:39.

I was relying on my phone for pacing and I think I may have been a little off.  I thought my 1st mile was slower than 13 min/mile so I tried to speed up a little to “catch up.”  I may have overdone it a bit as I didn’t expect to finish my 1st five miles under 13 min/mile pace.  Nonetheless I felt good at the 5 mile mark.